Journal archives for July 2019

21 July, 2019

Nalle Bunny Run 2019-07-20

On Saturday morning only three people joined me for the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve in west Austin. It's a shame we've been getting low attendance on these walks. Despite high summer temperatures later in the day, when we start these walks at 8 AM it's relatively cool. A nice breeze and some cloud cover helped as well. And it was a birdy morning! We ended up finding 27 species of birds and had some fun observations of other animals as well.

We started downhill and started hearing a Painted Bunting singing. The bunting flew west but as we stood there a pair of Ladder-backed Woodpeckers flew in and landed on a dead tree nearby. After getting good looks at them they flew south almost right over our heads. We turned onto the path looping through the west part of the preserve when we saw a few Blue-gray Gnatcathers, and further down the trail we started hearing the Painted Bunting nearby. I played a Painted Bunting song on my iPhone a couple times and the bird flew in right over us to try and find its competitor. We all got good looks at this colorful bird before it lost interest and flew further west. A bit further down the trail we found two or three juvenile Painted Buntings foraging near the ground. It's likely that these were all siblings and the singing male was there father. Here's a juvenile bird I had seen before the group arrived which was probably one of the birds the group saw:

Juvenile Painted Bunting

The theme of juvenile birds continued when we found two Red-eyed Vireos in the deciduous woods habitat area. One was a juvenile bird following and constantly begging from its parent. Twice I saw it get fed high in the canopy. In this same area we were treated to a distant look at a Rock Squirrel, a western species that doesn't occur much further east than Austin, and is much less common to see then our Fox Squirrels:

Rock Squirrel

Down on the sandy prairie we saw another juvenile bird, this Eastern Bluebird by itself. We didn't see its parents:

Juvenile Eastern Bluebird

Dragonflies were out, and we were treated to some nice close looks at some, like this bright red male Neon Skimmer which was defending its territory just downhill from the natural spring on the preserve:

Neon Skimmer - 2

As the morning progressed the sound of cicadas became more and more prevalent, until it was nearly constant. The only one we actually saw was this big guy, near the end of our hike. It has been identified by the iNaturalist community so far as a Texas Dog-day Cicada:

Cicada - 1- 1

See the attached observations for a few more species we saw.

The same photos are on Flickr here.

And here is our complete eBird list.

Posted on 21 July, 2019 20:55 by mikaelb mikaelb | 11 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment